Nobel laureate, Prof. Wole Soyinka, has expressed shock at
the contents of former President Olusegun Obasanjo’s
controversial autobiography titled, My Watch.
Soyinka, in a piece titled, ‘Watch And Pray, Watch And
Prey’, described Obasanjo as an expert in telling lies and a
Soyinka is one of the personalities the former President
slammed in the three-volume controversial book which an
Abuja court ordered security agencies to confiscate
wherever it is being sold.
He described the literary icon as a misfit, a better wine
connoisseur and a guinea fowl hunter in the book.
“For Wole, no one can be good, nor can anything be spot-on
politically except that which emanates from him or is
ordained by him. His friends and loved ones will always be
right and correct no matter what they do or fail to do. He is
surely a better wine connoisseur and a more successful
aparo (guinea fowl) hunter than a political critic, ” Obasanjo
But, Soyinka who, by the tone of his piece did not find
Obasanjo comment funny, said, “I despise that species of
humanity whose stock-in-trade is to concoct lies simply to
score a point, win an argument, puff up his or her own ego,
denigrate or attempt to destroy a fellow being.
“However, even within such deplorable species, a special pit
of universal opprobrium is surely reserved for those who
even lack the courage of their own lies, but must foist them
He also took a swipe at the former President for openly
condemning his former Special Adviser, Mr. Akin Osuntokun,
who is “young enough to be his son.”
The playwright said, “For now, let me single out just one of
the most glaring instances of this man’s compulsive career
of lying, one sample that the media can readily check upon
and use as a touchstone – if they do need one – in
assessing our author’s multifaceted claims and
commentaries on people and events.
“I refer here to the grotesque and personally insulting
statement that he has attributed to me for some inscrutable
but obviously diversionary reasons.
“In the process, this past Master of Mendacity brazenly
implicates an innocent young man, Akin Osuntokun, who
once served him as a special adviser. Instead of conferring
dignity on a direct rebuttal of an ignoble fabrication, I shall
simply make a personal, all-embracing attestation:
“When an old man stuffs a lie into the throat of an age-mate
of his own children – omo inu e! – we can only pity an
irredeemable egomaniac whose dotage is headed for
The literary icon also revisited the controversial Obasanjo
Presidential library, saying it was acquired through
‘executive extortionism’ just as President Goodluck Jonathan
recently got over N21bn at a dinner/fund-raiser last
He noted that both Jonathan and Obasanjo were leaders
known for impunity.
Soyinka said, “That obscene proceeding (Obasanjo’s Library
Fund-raising) has certainly set a competitive precedent for
impunity in President Jonathan’s recent fund-raising
shindig, editorialised in The PUNCH (Dec. 23, 2014) as
Impunity Taken too Far.
“So much for the latest from that direction – we mustn’t
allow Handing-Over notes between presidents to distract us
for too long.”
He said Obasanjo had no right to take the moral high
Soyinka added that Obasanjo loved to call on the name of
God but his actions implied that he probably did not believe
in God’s existence.
He urged Nigerians to be careful about taking heed to the
advice of Obasanjo as the former President was very
Soyinka wrote, “In this season of goodwill, we owe a duty to
our immediate and distant neighbours: CAVEAT EMPTOR!
Let all beware, who try to buy a Rolex from this
indefatigable watch peddler,” he said.
“Our author invokes God tirelessly, without provocation,
without necessity and without justification, perhaps pre-
emptively, but does he really believe in such an entity? Does
our home-bred Double-O-Seven believe in anything outside
his own Omnipotence?
“Could he possibly have mistaken the Christian exhortation
– ‘Watch and Pray’ for his private inclination to “Watch and
He maintained that Obasanjo’s book was written in a
deceitful manner such that he took credit for the good deeds
of others and then blamed others for his own failure.
“This is a seasoned predator on others’ achievements – he
preys on their names, their characters, their motivations,
their true lives, preys on gossip and preys on facts, preys on
contributions to collective undertakings…..even preys on
their identities, substituting his own where possible,”
Soyinka compared Obasanjo to a creature in Igbo Olodumare,
a novel written by the late Daniel Fagunwa.
Although he did not mention Obasanjo’s name while making
comparisons, he said only one man could fit into that
He said, “The seventh (creature) is not among those who set
out to improve the world but rather to cause distress to its
inhabitants. It was through manipulations that he attained a
high position. Having achieved this however, he constantly
blocked the progress of those behind him, this being a most
deplorable act in the eyes of God, and rank behaviour in the
judgment of the dwellers of heaven – that anyone who has
enjoyed upliftment in life should seek to be an obstacle for
those who follow him.
“This man forgot the beings of earth, forgot the beings of
heaven, in turn, he forgot the presence of God. The worst
kind of behaviour agitated his hands – greed occupied the
centre of his heart, and he was a creature that walked in
“This man wallowed in bribery, he was chairman of the circle
of scheming, head of the gang of double-dealing, field-
marshal of those who crept about in the dark of night. With
his mouth, he ruined the work of others, while he used a big
potsherd to cover the good works of some, that others might
not see their attainments.
“He nosed around for secrets that would entrap his
companions, and blew them up into monumental crimes in
the eyes of the world. He who turns the world upside down,
places the deceitful on the throne, casts the truthful down –
because such is a being of base earth, he will never stand as
equal among the uplifted.”